Our community centre in Esilalei is a useful space for the community to meet, to have workshops and even more so, for the children and adults to study.
The one thing limiting this however, is the fact that here – around the equator – the sun sets around 6:30 every day, and everything is in darkness until the following morning.
To light things up, we could try to get connected to the grid. This is, however, not just a costly affair, it also requires monthly payment of electricity fees, money which will be hard to come by. What there is in plenty, and freely available, is sun.
Which is why we want to introduce the idea of solar power to the community, and test it’s viability, by first installing a setup in the community centre.
A simple 15W solar panel, a charger controller and a small 26Ah solar battery, is all that is needed to collect and store power during day-light hours. Then, in the evening, we’ll connect two 12V (1 Watt) White-LED lamps, which are now available locally, to light up the entire center, and we’ll mount some cigarette lighter plugs, allowing for the charging of mobile phones.
It’s up to the community to decide whether to ask for money for the charging of mobile phones but since that is an accepted practice, this could very well be used to create a little additional income.
We’ve created a small ‘project’ though the ChipIn initiative, allowing you to donate towards the cost of this solar-setup on the right side of every page. If you prefer to communicate with us directly to donate using either a bank transfer or local credit card transaction, please see how on our ‘donate‘ page…
Evening light in three steps
- We’ll travel to Esilalei to look into the best place to put the solar panels. This is done using something called a “heliodon” and a Sun-Dial, and refering to existing Sun Path Diagrams of the nearby Mto wa Mbu. Placing the panel on the right spot will maximise it’s performance (well explained on this page).
- When the funds have been raised, we’ll purchase and install the panel and equipment, and start our testing and tuning. Things need to be stable, weather proof and easy to maintain.
- Once the system is set-up properly, we’ll work with the community elders to designate one or two community members as the responsible person for the upkeep and maintenance of the set-up. This person can also, if desired, handle the charging of mobile phones for community members.
Meanwhile, we’d like to ask you, if you agree with us it would be great for the Esilalei children (and adults) to extend their day with a few hours thanks to solar lighting, why not contribute something using the ChipIn button on the right?